By Jug Varner

Listening was the first step in the creation of Frederick E. Hart's Vietnam Memorial sculpture, The Three Soldiers.

Ten years ago he began the project by sitting around tables in hundreds of veterans' homes, hearing tales of camaraderie, dreadful sorrows and small, ordinary events turned unforgettable because of where and when they happened. He observed that a minute detail held enormous significance to veterans. Then he thought about ways that these stories fit into the history of human struggles.

“Until I became involved with this sculpture, Hart said, I was like many Americans at the time - completely ignorant of the kinds of experiences the Vietnam veteran had undergone, both in that country and returning home.

“As I developed my idea for the sculpture, I came to know many veterans who shared their experience with me and I came to understand their story as well as any non-veteran could.”

Hart said he developed a profound respect for their willing sacrifices on behalf of their fellow countrymen and felt a deep and passionate conviction that these sacrifices be understood and honorably acknowledged.

He has donated his entire share of this sculpture's reproduction copyright royalties to The Friends of the Vietnam Memorial, in Arlington, Va.

On June 25, the Blinded American Veterans Foundation presented Hart with the George Alexander Volunteer Award for his ongoing efforts in behalf veterans, particularly those with sensory disability.

Many of his works can be seen in the capital area, including the renowned Creation sculptures at the Washington, National Cathedral, where he once created gargoyles while learning his trade. In addition to traditional sculpture, Hart has patented a new method of working with Lucite and has sculpted twelve Lucite works called The Age of Light.